If you’re planning on designing a new website for your project (or just tidying up your current one) this guide will show you what makes a great jazz musician website – and what to avoid!
Whether you’re building it yourself or using a web designer, we’ll look at some the most important things to keep in mind when getting your website ‘gig ready’ in 2020 and beyond…
As a jazz musician, your website is your home on the web.
Facebook, Twitter and whatever else may come and go – just like MySpace did – but assuming you have bought the domain name, your website is yours forever.
And, despite the rise of social media, it is still the #1 place that most people – especially promoters and journalists – will go first to learn about you.
So, it needs to give them what they are looking for, without too much messing about. A jazz musician’s website doesn’t need to be expensive or flashy, but it does need to be effective.
As a jazz musician, there are pretty much two groups of people who are visiting your website:
- Potential fans, promoters & other industry who still have to find out about you: they need a smooth experience to be drawn into the site and discover your music. Hopefully, that will mean they hop over into this next group:
- Existing fans, promoters & other industry. People who already know or book you: they want information and need to be able to find it quickly and easily.
Your website: an online hub
The best musician websites I have seen – speaking as an agent or a manager – have acted as a hub, clearly displaying all their best content from around the internet and beyond in one place.
For the fans (or potential fans) your website should…
- Pull in videos from Youtube and onto a videos page.
- Have some way of streaming your music
- Embed a gig plugin so your gigs appear on a dates page
- Give people a link directly to where they can buy your music
- Show icons for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify on every page
Your website needs to give industry people…
- A way to listen to your music
- To see the videos that they will use to promote you
- Access to high resolution downloads of your photos
- Short and long biographies
- Press quotes
- Even riders and technical requirements (see SUPER PRO BONUS under the infographic)
All of this can be achieved very simply with a clear design (no fancy graphics required) and you should be able to to keep it up-to-date very quickly and easily once it is set up.
The ‘Perfect’ Musician Website
The infographic below brings together everything I think should be present on professional jazz musician websites.
Note that almost half of these are simply links on the site to take visitors to the other platform directly. [Make sure that these are always set to open in a new tab so people don’t leave your website right away!]
SUPER PRO BONUS: include a password protected page with your tech rider and other info that you just want to give out to industry people. No more long emails with attachments, just send them the URL and password.
7 THINGS TO AVOID ON A MUSICIAN’S WEBSITE
Assuming you have all the good stuff on your website, you want people to spend as much time as possible there.
This means avoiding clunky, out-of-date designs.
Whether you are building your own site or paying someone else to do it for you, make a quick run through this list to make sure to avoid these common errors:
- Avoid landing pages requiring “click to enter” – we have to assume that if someone comes to your website, they want to see or hear more!
- Avoid autoplay music which starts when someone lands on the site
- Avoid contact Forms – give people an email address. Gmail is OK but it’s super low cost to have a professional looking email address.
- Avoid short clips of music– building a career involves playing the long game. For now, let people discover your music properly and become a real fan. Once you have them on board you can sell them your albums and gig tickets.
- Avoid out-of-date gig listings– it looks lazy and unprofessional. As an agent, I can’t help thinking that if a musician can’t keep their gig listings up to date, they might be a bit tricky to work with in general. There are plenty of platforms – such as Songkick – where you can manage your dates remotely and which will automatically remove old shows.
- Avoid too much homepage content so you need to scroll down to see it all. The goal here is clear and concise. Attention is short so make sure that people are only getting the best of what you have to give.
- Avoid outdated advertising or banners for records that came out ages ago and bio’s which mention things ‘coming soon’ that have already happened. You can produce banners and e-flyers for free online (see Resources page) so there is no reason not to update regularly.
Jazz Musician Websites: Some Effective Examples
Here are just a handful of websites that I have come across online that do a great job at presenting the artist effectively and clearly.
Youn Sun Nah – Nice plugin pulling her best videos from Youtube plus photos available for “high res download”
Anthony Strong – Clean design, comprehensive contact page and downloadable reviews.
Kenny Garrett – Dates and music – arguably the two most important things – right there on the homepage.
Gregory Porter – clear and simple with all merchandise features taking the customer directly to the artist-branded third party store to deal with.
If you’re working on the presentation of your project at the moment, you can find all articles, guides & info on self promoting your project here.
A few basics to get you started: